TOPEKA — Kansas University leaders have asked for a new set of stricter admissions criteria that would separate it from Kansas’ other state universities.
KU Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little outlined the proposal Wednesday for the Kansas Board of Regents.
The existing criteria are the same for all six regents universities, and a Kansas high school student can get admitted if he or she:
• has an ACT score of 21 or higher or an SAT score of 980 or higher, or
• ranks in the top one-third of the high school class, or
• has a 2.0 GPA or higher on a 4.0 scale in the Kansas Qualified Admissions curriculum.
To be automatically admitted to KU under the new standards, students would have to apply by Feb. 1 and would have to complete the regents’ pre-college curriculum with a GPA of 2.5 or higher, along with one of the following:
• Graduation from a high school with a minimum of a 3.0 cumulative high school GPA and a composite ACT score of 24 (1090 SAT equivalent), or
• Graduation from a high school (accredited, nonaccredited or home school) with a minimum of a 3.25 cumulative high school GPA and a composite ACT score of 21 (980 SAT equivalent).
Students who did not meet the automatic qualifications could also gain admission by way of a review committee that would look at a number of other mitigating factors.
Gray-Little said that students who apply by Feb. 1 have more success historically at KU. She told the regents that, in the last two years, 81 percent of students who applied by Feb. 1 came back for a second year, compared with 58 percent of students who applied after that date.
Gray-Little said that 65 percent of the current students at KU would have been accepted through the new automatic admissions process, and the rest would have had to go to the review committee. With the review committee, Gray-Little said she hoped the process would connect students with services they might not find otherwise.
Regents did not take action on the proposal on Wednesday but seemed generally supportive.
“You’re not doing this to keep students out of Kansas University — you’re doing this to keep students in Kansas University,” Regent Dan Lykins said.
Still, Regent Kenny Wilk asked whether the stricter standards might mean that fewer students would enroll at KU, especially considering the school’s declining enrollments over the past few years.
“That’s a possibility,” Gray-Little said. “But at the same time, we’re also trying to increase our applications. ... It is not our goal to decrease the size of the university.”
The board is scheduled to vote on the new standards at its next meeting in June. If approved, the new standards wouldn’t take effect until 2016.